LPA means someone can act on your behalf if you can't
A lasting power of attorney gives someone you trust - usually a relative or friend - the power to act on your behalf if you aren’t able to do so yourself due to mental or physical incapacity.
Putting one in place puts you firmly in control of your affairs as you decide exactly how much authority your ‘attorney’ would have and whether you want to impose any restrictions. There are safeguards to make sure that your wishes are carried out and the person acting on your behalf recognises the seriousness of their responsibility.
LPAs were introduced in 2007 to replace the previous system of enduring powers of attorney (EPA) but EPAs created before October 2007 are still valid.
Finance and welfare
There are two types of LPA: one known as a property and financial affairs LPA, that gives your attorney the authority to deal with buying and selling your property, your bills, bank accounts and investments. This can be used while someone still is capable but has chosen to delegate to their attorney. A personal welfare LPA covers decisions about health and care and even deciding where someone is to live but can only be used if someone is incapable of dealing with such matters themselves.
Office of the Public Guardian
You don’t necessarily need professional advice to make a lasting power of attorney as the forms are designed to be easy to complete but you must ensure that the document is completed correctly to avoid having it rejected by the Office of the Public Guardian when registering it (see below). Should this happen, a new document will need to be signed by all parties and there will be an additional charge by the Court. As with Wills, probate and other legal matters, it’s usually worth getting legal advice if your personal, property or financial affairs are complicated.
A lasting power of attorney can't be used until it's been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian which will check that’s it’s correct and raise any queries .The registration process takes several weeks and there is a fee of around £110.00. If your circumstances, or those of your attorneys change, you can revoke the LPA and make a new one and will be charged the same fee.
A growing need
Because we are living longer, an increasing number of people are likely to become physically or mentally dependent; there are expected to be a million people with dementia in the UK by 2025, but accidents, strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson’s disease can also affect someone’s ability to make their own decisions.
Dealing with your financial affairs, health and care would be virtually impossible and without someone authorised to act on your behalf, relatives can face long delays, expense and distress if they have to go through the Court of Protection to be permitted to do so.